I just returned from the 2015 NESCBWI conference a couple of weeks ago and like always, it was fantastic! How many times do you get to go to a conference and hear not only this year’s Caldecott winner, Dan Santat, but also this years Newbury award winner, Kwame Alexander, speak? Very Cool!
Listening to all the speakers and award winners got me thinking, what if that were me? What would I say to this giant crowd listening to my every word? Wide-eyed writers and illustrators looking for that piece of advice to launch their career? Would I give advice? If I did, then I would have to compete with them for the next award. I don’t think so!
So here I give you my fantasy acceptance speech, where I endow upon you my top 5 tips of “Great Advice” to all the up and coming writers–advice that is sure to keep the competition thin and increase my chances of winning.
First off I want to thank you all who voted for me, this is so unexpected. I was once just like you, sitting in the crowd and wondering how can I get to be that awesome, that handsome, that modest and gracious? Well you can’t. But here are my five best tips that I want you to follow, as you strive toward reaching your goals as a writer.
1: Don’t join a critique group. I mean really, who knows your story better than you? All those people who are telling you the same thing on how to fix your manuscript? Morons. Stick with your gut. Don’t change a thing.
2: Don’t bother making your manuscript the best it can be before sending it out. Don’t worry about grammer speling, or, punctation, thats what editers are 4, rite? Really, let’s think about this for a minute. If you make your story perfect before the editor sees it, then why does a publisher need to keep the editor on payroll? You’ve just caused someone to lose their job, their kids are going to live on the streets, all because you insisted on using spell check. You have to stop thinking of yourselves as writers and start thinking of yourselves as job creators. Every time you misuse the word you’re/your, an Editor gets a job. Your welcomb.
3: Do not do research which publisher to submit to. The shot-gun effect is by far the best method of finding a publisher. Yes, maybe the publisher you send to only does niche erotic nature books. But maybe it will be your picture book that convinces them otherwise.
4: When you do send to a publisher, stay in touch. A lot. At least once a day, maybe even twice just to be sure. They get so many submissions every day so you want to make sure your name stays at the top of their list.
5: Agents. Waste of time. No reason to have the middle man say no to you when you can have the publisher do it for them. Plus when you get a contract you don’t need an agent to look it over. I’m sure the publisher will give you the best possible deal and look out for your financial interests.
Bonus Tip #6: Do not, whatever you do, join the SCBWI. That way, you will not meet great lifelong friends, connect with agents, editors, and incredibly talented writers and artists, or learn anything you don’t already know at the workshops. In fact, take your membership dues, go to Vegas and play Baccarat, I hear it’s very easy to learn.
Thank you all for considering my advice. With the competition thinned out, I look forward to accepting another award next year.
Previously posted on Paul Czajak’s blog, Ramblings of a Writer.